Jharkhand governor Draupadi Murmu on Friday admitted that girls were still being “sold and purchased” in her state.
She was speaking as the chief guest at a seminar ‘Ambedkar as a crusader of women empowerment’ ogranised by the Punjab government at Punjabi University to mark the 125th birth anniversary of Dr BR Ambedkar.
Murmu said, “I am not much aware of the women’s condition in Punjab, but girls are still being treated as a commodity in my state. Girl child trafficking, girl abuse, illiteracy, early marriage and domestic violence are still prevalent in addition to other malpractices against the women,” she said while highlighting the “sale and purchase” of girls in Jharkhand.
Notably, many girls from Jharkhand are “sold” in Malwa area of Punjab, and “purchased” by elderly bachelors.
Observing that women were the “head of the family” in every respect, the governor exhorted them to prove themselves as examples and not just showpieces. She highlighted the role of Ambedkar in women empowerment.
It was the first of a series of six seminars, planned by the Punjab government to commemorate the life, vision and ideology of the iconic Dalit leader and the architect of the Indian Constitution.
“Though women have covered a lot of ground by way of attaining equality and outgrowing their male counterparts in many walks of life, yet much is left to be done in respect of women empowerment envisioned by Dr Ambedkar,” she added.
Her view was endorsed by most of the speakers at the seminar, including Punjab assembly speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal, Punjab cabinet ministers Surjit Singh Rakhra and Sohan Singh Thandal; and vice-chancellor Jaspal Singh.
Rajmata Shubhangini Raje Gaekward, chancellor of MS University, Vadodara, exhorted the women to learn how to take decisions of their life themselves instead of being ruled by men. Speaker Atwal dwelt on Ambedkar’s contribution in the developmental history of India.
Thandal said chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had agreed to call a special session of Punjab Assembly to discuss life and achievements of Dr Ambedkar and instal his statue at its entrance.
In his welcome address, V-C Jaspal Singh said Ambedkar was greatly impressed by the teachings of Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh, who daringly championed the cause of not only gender equality but also the supremacy of women. Chief organiser of the function, Inder Iqbal Singh Atwal and Dr Jaspal Kaur also spoke on the occasion.